Atomic Red is a lovely new variety helping restore the wide variety of carrot colors that were present before the 16th Century. This distinctively beautiful scarlet-coral colored carrot produces long tapered roots, around 22cm (9in) in length. It is suitable for maincrop use and best suited to spring and autumn sowings, thriving in cooler weather. Carrots originated in what is now Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan and by about 1000 A.D., they were being grown from India to the Eastern Mediterranean. By the 1300s, purple and yellow carrots had spread as far as western Europe and China. Red carrots originated in India, China, and Japan in the 1700s. White and orange carrots first appeared in Europe during the 1700s. Orange carrots quickly displaced all other colours and dominate the world to this day.
Atomic Red carrots get their hue from the anti-oxidant Lycopene which is highly regarded as a cancer-preventing nutrient. Generally speaking the more colour in the carrot the higher the content of beta-carotene and vitamins. The human body apparently absorbs lycopene better when vegetables are cooked. Carrots are an excellent source of the deep yellow carotenoids that produce vitamin A. They are also a good source of magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and B complex, and a form of calcium that is easily absorbed by the body. During the first five months of storage, carrots will actually increase their vitamin A content; and, if protected from heat or light, can hold their nutrient content for another two or three months
Sun: Full Sun
Days To Maturity: 76
Sowing Method: Outdoor
Plant in the spring in a well prepared bed free of rocks. Scrape shallow furrows 1/4”-1/8“ deep and sow seeds directly, covering with a thin layer of soil. Weeds can be a problem due to the long germination time – careful weeding is a must. Thin to 2-3” apart once seedlings have come up. For longer harvest, stagger plantings every 2-3 weeks.
Heirloom Carrot Climatic Requirements: The heirloom carrot is a hardy, cool season crop that can be planted in the garden as soon as the organic soil can be prepared in the spring. Organic carrots require relatively large amounts of moisture and are not tolerant of drought. Prolonged hot weather in the later stages of development may not only retard growth but result in an undesirable strong flavor and coarseness in the roots. At the other extreme, prolonged temperatures below 55 degrees F tend to make the roots longer, more slender and paler in color than expected. The best temperature for highest quality organic roots is between 60 and 70 degrees F.
Soils: Heirloom carrot plants thrive in deep, loose, well-drained soil. Avoid stony, cloddy or hard soils as they increase the likelihood of root defects. Because raised-beds usually have loose soil and receive little compaction from foot traffic, they are an ideal location to grow carrots. Heirloom carrot plants grow well at a pH range of 6.0 to 6.8.
Organic Fertilizers: Most of the time a very well composted manure and a humus laden soil is all you need to grow great organic carrots. Heirloom carrots require large amounts of plant nutrient elements normally found is this mix, but sometimes need extra potassium, for good production. On the flip side too much manure applied just beforeseeding can result in forked roots. Better to wait till the tops are about 3″s to apply more organic manure as a side dressing.
Establishing: Direct seed heirloom carrots into a well-prepared soil early in the spring. Suggested planting seed depth is 1/4 inch deep in rows spaced 12 to 18 inches or more apart depending on the method of cultivation used. It is important to avoid crusting of the soil around the seed-bed. Covering the seed with vermiculite or fine organic compost and keeping the soil evenly moist until the seedlings have emerged will help prevent this problem. After the seedlings have emerged, thin them to one inch apart. When the tops of the carrots grow thicker, thin them to about two to three inches apart.